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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    How to make a housewife upset...

    Tell her there's no how water. Our 2-year old hydro-air Navien boiler quit suddenly and while the fix didn't take that long, it of course didn't happen before the wife left for work.

    Several things could have helped me out in this situation. First is some sort of alarm that lets me know our boiler has failed. We mostly heat the house with out natural gas fireplace so we didn't know there was a problem until the supply of hot water in our SuperStor indirect tank "went dry". Some sort of alarm would have let me know to call the vendor 12 hours earlier and gotten the problem fixed before it was a crisis.

    Another thing I would like to have the equivalent of, and did have in my last house, was a backup source of hot water - and not be boiling it on the stove, either.

    My last house had a an Envirotech tankless electric fed by a conventional gas water heater. The house was way to old to have a re-circ system, and by locating the tankless near the kitchen, we practically eliminated the problem of waiting for hot water. As soon as hot water reached the tankless from the conventional water heater, it would be satisfied and just pass the hot water thru. We never ran out of hot water.

    Only ugly surprise with that system was when the pilot went out on the gas water heater -- and we got a fat electric bill until the pilot was re-lit.

    Envirotech was bought out and the brand discontinued, so I can't duplicate that setup. My current HVAC vendor doesn't like the idea much, so I'm trying to come up with alternatives.

    I thought it might be possible to somehow combine a re-circ system (this 2003 house doesn't have one either) with a natural gas tankless system, which could serve as a standby if the boiler failed again.

    Something like: If the re-circ line went back thru the on-demand heater, it could provide heat to the SuperStor on the return loop. If the boiler failed to ignite and the re-circ went cold, then it would start circulating water continuously and the tankless unit would supply hot water until the re-circ line was satisfied and shut down.

    I figure, if I'm not smart enough to figure this out, then somebody might have tried this here before!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Mount Holly, NC
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    I had to edit your thread title... sorry.
    Is your fireplace a sealed door or open door with flue, or open door ventless?
    Sealed door is best, but will not heat much without active air circulation.
    Open door cools the house more than the heat provided through draft.
    Ventless fills the home with carbon dioxide and huge amounts of water, so have some active ventilation in the home if you run long times.
    Most gas tankless have recirculation pump options built in, check navien.
    I wouldn't want to feed a tankless with a tank... kinda defeats its purpose.
    The TRUE highest cost system is the system not installed properly...

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Maple Grove, MN
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    The issues you bring up makes this song start playing in my head...



    Although it might suck to be without hot water for a day or a weekend or whatever, I think for most people it wouldn't be worth the cost for a backup system. Of course if you have enough money then there's no reason you shouldn't be able to get what you want though. Have at it!
    If at First You Don't Succeed, Skydiving Is Not for You.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Thread Starter
    Quote Originally Posted by vstech View Post
    Is your fireplace a sealed door or open door with flue, or open door ventless?
    It has a sealed glass front, with a standard double wall vent tube. Sucks inlet air down around the center that exhausts the combustion air.
    Quote Originally Posted by vstech View Post
    Most gas tankless have recirculation pump options built in, check navien.
    I wouldn't want to feed a tankless with a tank... kinda defeats its purpose.
    Worked beautifully for me ... with the caveat of the pilot light going out and me not noticing it.
    The new natural gas tankless units make hot water just as efficiently as the boiler, so there's no big down side. I guess my other alternative for auxiliary hot water would be some valves to re-route the water thru a separate water heater? I had my previous setup so I could turn valves and make hot water on either the Envirotech or the gas water heater separately or together. I don't mind the extra money, I just don't want to lost hot water. All the vendors here might consider my idea ludicrous, but unlike them, I cannot fix an outage for myself.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Location
    Maple Grove, MN
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    For my money, I'd rather keep my stupidly simple tank type heater that runs on 1930's technology. Even though it might cost a few dollars more to run per year, I'd be willing to bet that overall my cost of ownership is less than it would be if I had that little box on my wall filled with sensors and electronic do-dads that tends to break down every couple of years.

    And I'd bet my wife would be happy with that decision too.

    Maybe you should get rid of the Navien and get a Rheem or AO Smith or Bradford White.
    If at First You Don't Succeed, Skydiving Is Not for You.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
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    Thread Starter
    Navien was the vendor's choice. Everything breaks.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
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    Bosch makes tankless electric water heaters. So you can duplicate the set up you had in your other house.
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    SW FL
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    - - -
    Add

    SIMPLE 20 or 30 gallon Electric HWT IN PARALLEL
    to be valved in Manually
    upon tankless failure.
    Designer Dan
    It's Not Rocket Science, But It is SCIENCE with "Some Art". ___ ___ K EEP I T S IMPLE & S INCERE

    Define the Building Envelope and Perform a Detailed Load Calc: It's ALL About Windows and Make-up Air Requirements. Know Your Equipment Capabilities

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